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Wanting to Catch Up on Older Anime I MIssed, Looking for Recs!

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I've always been interested in older anime (anything 80's-early 2000's) but the task is a little daunting when you don't know where to start. Most of what was on TV when I was a kid of the 2000's was shonen (DBZ, Naruto, etc. I caught Sailor Moon a couple times and Tokyo Mew Mew once or twice) and while I don't mind shonen stuff, I'm wanting to branch out and catch up to what I've missed/not heard of.

I trust the opinions of you guys here, since this is an anime-doll based hobby, so any recommendations for older anime to check out would be greatly appreciated!

(Also, I hope this is okay to post? I figured this would be the place for it, but if it's not, let me know! I haven't used this forum as much as DOA, and I'm finding it a little more difficult)

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What genre do you like? There is just so much Anime out there that it would be hard to recommend any without knowing what you like. I have some older Animes I love that I would recommend, but I'm usually more into darker stuff and since I don't know if you'd enjoy that I'm being careful with recommending those, since it's not everyone's cup of tea.

The most obvious one that comes to mind right away would be Rozen Maiden, as that one is literally with dolls so it would be the perfect recommendation for any doll collector. Though I'm going to assume you probably already at least heard of that one if not watched. 🙂


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depends what youre into because there is So Much Stuff out there!!  like pick a genre!  also define "older", because i keep being blind-sided by people goin "ooh thats so oldskool" as they name a show frm freakin 2009

a pulp SciFi classic we still haven't shut up about? Cowboy Bebop
part of the 90s "Western in Spaaaaaaaace" holy trinity - Bebop, Trigun, Outlaw Star  (seriously, classic Trigun was some good good stuff!)
shoujo fluff but also if Neverending Story was video game? Magic Knight Rayearth (aka one of hte pillars of CLAMP, and 90s shoujo overall)
The first big "if u die in-game, u die IRL" of the genre? dotHACK anything  (.hack/Sign is the first) - fun fact!! the music composer for this also scored SwordArtOnline ... just saying.....
romance period piece? Emma: Victorian Romance
SciFi mind-fck that in 2023 rewatches entirely differently than in their original run decades ago? Anything touched by Satoshi Kon - Paranoia Agent, Perfect Blue, Paprika, Memories

a very specific flavor of melancholy? anything by Makoto Shinkai - Voices of a Distant Star, Your Name, Garden of Words
A very human story with a very light fantasy touch? by Mamoru Hosoda (when he isnt the writer) - Wolf Children, Girl who leapt through time, Summer Wars

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1 hour ago, Anna-neko said:

(.hack/Sign is the first) - fun fact!! the music composer for this also scored SwordArtOnline ... just saying.....

.hack//SIGN has similar ingredients as SAO, but .hack is perhaps a bit more of a slow paced (Typical Bee-Train) murder mystery than SAO.

SAO is an interesting Yuki Kajiura score, that it doesent really sound like a Yuki Kajiura score. Makes me wonder did she finally break the syntheziser she had used up untill then. The other amusing coincidence with her is Madoka Magica, since she also did the score for Mai-HiME which was more or less the precursor deconstructive magical girl series.



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I agree a lot depends on genre of interest. 

I don't watch dubs, so my estimation of the quality of all of these is based on the subtitled Japanese language versions.

Kenichi Sonada was one of the most famous animators of that period. His entries would include classics like Gall Force, Bubblegum Crisis 2032, and Gunsmith Cats. 

For Romance there is Kimagure Orange Road. It's one of the anime credited with introducing anime to the West. It also features the proto-tsundere Madoka Ayukawa.

Ah My Goddess, and Oh My Goddess are also classics that fit the romance genre. This one is probably a pre-cursor to harem anime, but they aren't egregious about it. The sisters of the main love interest are there to cause the main character problems that make for interesting stories, and don't see themselves as love interests. It's hard not to see how the situations in this show helped give birth to the modern harem genre though. I don't personally like harem anime, but this show I love. It's the OVAs that are pre-2000.

Dirty Pair, the original girls with guns.

Tenshi Muyo is another classic, but not one I'm all that familiar with. I do recall it being very haremy.

You're Under Arrest is another classic. It's about a pair of girls with mad skills who work as cops.

Slayers is a great example of the fantasy genre. 

Saber Marrionette J is a silly sci-fi show. 

El Hazard is a mix of sci-if and fantasy elements. It has a more serious OVA release for older audiences, and a TV release that was aimed at younger audiences.

Project A-Ko is a fun parody of anime itself, and has moments that are comedic gold.

Sorcerer Hunters is another fantasy show with a lot of comedic elements.

Cutey Honey is classic Go Nagai and the originator of the magical girl genre. Very ecchi though, Honey gets naked every time she transforms and she transforms a lot. 

Those Who Hunt Elves is a good example of just how far famous voice actress Kotono Mitsuishi is willing to go in order to take on zany roles. The premise of the show is amusing, even if very politically incorrect by todays standards. The TP episode is a hysterical window into Japanese humor, and a subtle nod to some of the nonsense idols have to pretend to embody.

Neon Genesis Evangelion, Patlabor, and Gundam are classic giant robot series. There is Voltron too, but I'd look for the original Go Lion iteration and watch it in Japanese; the western release was kiddified.

Birdy the Mighty, the original OVAs are from the 90s. The 2008 TV series is pretty good too.

Iria: Zeiram the Animation would fall under the cyberpunk heading. This one is must see 90s anime.

3 x 3 eyes is a supernatural show themed around ancient cultures, but set in modern times.

Devil Hunter Yohko was the first anime brought into the US by A.D. Vision studios. It's pretty ecchi, Yohko spends a lot of time naked in episode 1, but that falls off in later episodes. 

800 T.T.S. Airbats is good if you like military shows. The ramen eating contest is comedic gold. 

Sakura Wars OVA is an early steampunk anime. 

Burn Up is one I've only seen bits and pieces of, but it did seem to be pretty popular back in the day. It is very ecchi, it's pretty much all about girls with large breasts and wicked combat skills fighting crime, but I remember the animation being good. You can probably see this show as a precursor to shows like High School DxD, but the lead in Burn Up is female not male. 

Revolutionary Girl Utena is another classic with some yuri elements to it. 

Battle Angel Alita is another cyberpunk themed show that imo borrows a bit from Asimov's 'The Currents of Space.'

Ghost in the Shell is another cyberpunk entry, and it's spawned a number of sequels including a pretty good modern cgi based one on Netflix.

Dominion Tank Police is another cyberpunk. Probably not well known today, but one of the few dubbed anime you could see on American TV in the 90s. It has the famous puma twins, who were pretty much icons of 90s anime. 

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The difference between Dollfie Dreams and Heroin? Heroin is illegal, Dollfie Dreams probably should be.

“Empty wallets, full hearts.” That’s probably an apt description for the effects of DD addiction

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I sensed catnip...

38 minutes ago, BeyondTime said:

Gunsmith Cats. 

The one series that manages to out US Cop show, all 80's US Cop shows. the NCC-1701 licence plate is a nice gag.


31 minutes ago, BeyondTime said:

You're Under Arrest is another classic.

Personally I would stick to the original four part OVA which pretty much gets all the principles covered. The TV series gets a bit repetetive, although it did have the crossdressing meter maid shinenigans. The movie became a bit too serious (tm). Music by Kenji Kawai of all people though.


33 minutes ago, BeyondTime said:

Burn Up is one I've only seen bits and pieces of, but it did seem to be pretty popular back in the day. It is very ecchi,

There's three main flavors, the original Burn up, the ADV co-produced Burn-up W (Warrior), and Burn-up scramble. And none are really related to eachother apart from the odd character name. Warrior is probably the one to go with, despite the distinctive Toshinari Yamashita character artwork (bazookaboobies which unfortunately grew even bigger into the studios swansong bait and switch project Divergence Eve) Although compared to more recent trends, not as naughty as one might think.. The original was a bit meh overall, and Scramble tried rebooting the franchise under Geneon/Pioneer production but its a bit lackluster.


42 minutes ago, BeyondTime said:

Neon Genesis Evangelion

But the big question is ... as almost with star wars which version of evangelion to watch? personally I would go with the remaster just before the remake movies, Death/rebirth movie as a recap before going into End of evangelion, and then ... well.. you'll know.


45 minutes ago, BeyondTime said:

Battle Angel ALita is another cyberpunk themed show. 

Ghost in the Shell is another cyberpunk entry. 

Dominion Tank Police

The holy trinity of anime movies that were available through Games workshop over here, reminding of the great days of VHS tapes. and the latter two helping to sell Masamune Shirowe artbooks.

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Everybody needs to watch experience Clannad. I bought the art book when I visited Tokyo in 2008 but weirdly I never watched it until this month. Another weird thing about Clannad is that Volks produced an outfit from the show (see Uzuki and Rin below) though they never made a character doll. It's probably because Clannad was totally overshadowed by Haruhi Suzumiya, although Clannad is by far the better show.

I thought it was a regular high school anime, but it's much, much more, especially the After Story follow up. I haven't been so emotionally crushed by something since I watched Watership Down at a school friend's birthday party in 1978.

If you're OK with violence then Elfen Lied is outstanding. The anime made a bit of a mess of the manga, but the music and artwork of sakura filled Kamakura is outstanding. The OST has actually been covered by some very well known orchestras (find them on Youtube).

Oh and of course anyone with an interest in anime dolls must see Chobits. Chii is an iconic Dollfie. Again it's a bit of a misadaptation of the manga, but Rie Tanaka's vocals on the OST are extremely memorable.

Lately I've also been watching When They Cry. It's violent and confusing but looks quite old school and Rena Ryugu is a super cute MDD.



Plus Erica, Shin Sato, Ciel and Kaito 🥰.

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Attack on Titan isn't really old, although it has taken them since 2013 to tell the tale (it ends in the autumn of 2023). I can honestly say it's one of the best TV shows I've ever seen, never mind an anime. It has a very deep plot, and is one of those shows that would benefit from watching multiple times. Also the OP visuals and music are outstanding.

I thought AoT was the best anime in history, but then somebody suggested I watch Death Note. This is much older, but after 1 episode I am starting to think this could be the best anime of all time.

My girls and I are also watching Kanon. It's crazily similar to Clannad.


Plus Erica, Shin Sato, Ciel and Kaito 🥰.

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I'm going to suggest Kobato, it's a CLAMP show but it's highly underrated. It's a really sweet and calming show. It's connected to the Tsubasa Chronicle universe but you really don't have to get into it if you don't want, I think Kobato stands on its' own just fine.

Also her outfits are extremely beautiful and I would buy a doll of her in a heartbeat.

Edited by mukyuu

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I love animes of this era! I'll try to recommend a few I haven't seen yet in the thread:

Alien 9 (drama/sci-fi)
Brave of Goldran (mecha/comedy)
Gankutsuou (drama/sci-fi)
Hells (comedy/horror)
Kaiba (adventure/sci-fi)
Mononoke (surnatural/historic)
Oban Star Racers (adventure/sci-fi)
Please Save my Earth (shojo/sci-fi)
Silent Möbius (cyberpunk/action)
Vampire Hunter D Bloodlust (horror/fantasy)

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